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Political Action: A Practical Guide to Movement Politics (New York Review Books Classics)

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Political theorist Michael Walzer's classic guide is a perfect introduction to social activism, including what-to-do advice for deciding which issues to take on, organizing, fundraising, and providing effective leadership Political Action is a how-to book for activists that was written at one of the darkest moments of the Nixon administration and remains no less timely and Political theorist Michael Walzer's classic guide is a perfect introduction to social activism, including what-to-do advice for deciding which issues to take on, organizing, fundraising, and providing effective leadership Political Action is a how-to book for activists that was written at one of the darkest moments of the Nixon administration and remains no less timely and intelligent and useful today. Michael Walzer draws on his extensive engagement in the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s to lay out the practical steps necessary to keep movement politics alive both in victory and in defeat. What do people need to do when out of outrage or fear of looming disaster they come together to demand change? Should they focus on one or several issues? Should they form coalitions? What can and can’t be accomplished through electoral politics? How can movements operate democratically? What is effective leadership? Walzer addresses such questions with clarity, concision, wisdom, and wit in a book that everywhere insists not only on the centrality of movement politics to the health of democratic societies but on the deep satisfaction that is to be found there. Political Action is both an indispensable resource for activists and a lasting and inspiring summons to arms.


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Political theorist Michael Walzer's classic guide is a perfect introduction to social activism, including what-to-do advice for deciding which issues to take on, organizing, fundraising, and providing effective leadership Political Action is a how-to book for activists that was written at one of the darkest moments of the Nixon administration and remains no less timely and Political theorist Michael Walzer's classic guide is a perfect introduction to social activism, including what-to-do advice for deciding which issues to take on, organizing, fundraising, and providing effective leadership Political Action is a how-to book for activists that was written at one of the darkest moments of the Nixon administration and remains no less timely and intelligent and useful today. Michael Walzer draws on his extensive engagement in the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s to lay out the practical steps necessary to keep movement politics alive both in victory and in defeat. What do people need to do when out of outrage or fear of looming disaster they come together to demand change? Should they focus on one or several issues? Should they form coalitions? What can and can’t be accomplished through electoral politics? How can movements operate democratically? What is effective leadership? Walzer addresses such questions with clarity, concision, wisdom, and wit in a book that everywhere insists not only on the centrality of movement politics to the health of democratic societies but on the deep satisfaction that is to be found there. Political Action is both an indispensable resource for activists and a lasting and inspiring summons to arms.

30 review for Political Action: A Practical Guide to Movement Politics (New York Review Books Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    Doggedly centrist and pragmatic, "Political Action" is the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" of political activism. More sobering than rousing, the book focuses on forming and maintaining single-issue groups, alliances, and coalitions. By focusing on a single issue, Walzer argues, blocs can be formed by people who agree at least on one point and agree to work together to achieve a goal regarding that one point. The more issues a group takes on, Walzer points out, the more like a political party it becomes Doggedly centrist and pragmatic, "Political Action" is the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" of political activism. More sobering than rousing, the book focuses on forming and maintaining single-issue groups, alliances, and coalitions. By focusing on a single issue, Walzer argues, blocs can be formed by people who agree at least on one point and agree to work together to achieve a goal regarding that one point. The more issues a group takes on, Walzer points out, the more like a political party it becomes and thus the more compromises it must make among its membership. The major parties want their members to agree to *all* vote a certain way, even on issues individual members disagree with. Independents want to choose candidates according to the specific issues that matter to them rather than endorse entire platforms. Although Walzer's book is a product of center-left politics, nothing about the strategies he proposes seems limited to party or ideological affiliation (assuming the affiliation has recourse to rational thought). The book is really about how to campaign for a single issue that matters a lot to you, your friends, and your family.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Fanaca

    Nice short book about how to organize and get political results. I did not find it that good and full of great advice, but it is not totally useless. There are some actual ideas, some outdated as far as I remeber. There is an introduction by Eugene McCarthy, who run many times for USA President but never won. I think this book was written in the context of Vietnam War protests and after the Student Riots of '68, that is why I do not feel it that actual. But nice reading though. Nice short book about how to organize and get political results. I did not find it that good and full of great advice, but it is not totally useless. There are some actual ideas, some outdated as far as I remeber. There is an introduction by Eugene McCarthy, who run many times for USA President but never won. I think this book was written in the context of Vietnam War protests and after the Student Riots of '68, that is why I do not feel it that actual. But nice reading though.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    A short, concise overview of political movements. How to set up, join, and push a movement. It's kept very vague, only going into examples and details when it needs to. A lovely starter guide for any budding organizer or activist. A short, concise overview of political movements. How to set up, join, and push a movement. It's kept very vague, only going into examples and details when it needs to. A lovely starter guide for any budding organizer or activist.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Judith

    I wish I had heard of this book when I was a student activist. It is essential reading for anyone interested in organizing for social change, and it's very quotable. I wish I had heard of this book when I was a student activist. It is essential reading for anyone interested in organizing for social change, and it's very quotable.

  5. 5 out of 5

    EMMANUEL

    This book is very short and completely insightful. Provides such accurate account and detailed perspective of the current and idealistically favorable ideas for political action movement attempts, and developments for an organizational group. This book helps create a reassurance in stead fasting, and in head starting a person's passion to start an organizational group in the modern current time. This book is a must read if the person is someone that is thinking or contemplating on becoming more This book is very short and completely insightful. Provides such accurate account and detailed perspective of the current and idealistically favorable ideas for political action movement attempts, and developments for an organizational group. This book helps create a reassurance in stead fasting, and in head starting a person's passion to start an organizational group in the modern current time. This book is a must read if the person is someone that is thinking or contemplating on becoming more involved in political action activism. The Book is a little heavy with the sentiment, but it’s manageable. Also, the author provides a unique reading experience, but nonetheless, the book is great and a quick read. Suggestion: First step to political action that will prepare a person on their journey, personally perceived, other than reading this book… is to read another book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Impulse selection from the New Books section at the library. A very short, condensed work that does what it set out to do and no more -- give action groups very practical advice on how to run a successful political campaign. None of the advice here is really surprising, at least to me, but it is hard-won information that could be invaluable to those new and on fire for activism. The advice on when to and not to collaborate with other groups seemed like the most potentially helpful -- from what o Impulse selection from the New Books section at the library. A very short, condensed work that does what it set out to do and no more -- give action groups very practical advice on how to run a successful political campaign. None of the advice here is really surprising, at least to me, but it is hard-won information that could be invaluable to those new and on fire for activism. The advice on when to and not to collaborate with other groups seemed like the most potentially helpful -- from what other groups could add, are actually likely to add, and the potential pitfalls. I hope there are lots of specific action groups springing up around the country who could make good use of this book -- as for me, I tend to gravitate more toward long campaign and get-out-the-vote organizations, so I'm not sure how much I'll be able to use myself.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ibeh Nick

  8. 5 out of 5

    Justin Paszul

  9. 5 out of 5

    BeatTheDisco

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dalia

  12. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Devlin

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Wright

  14. 5 out of 5

    J M

  15. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Hudson

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emily M

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Hedrick

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  20. 4 out of 5

    BertBert

  21. 4 out of 5

    Foster

  22. 4 out of 5

    Arthur Kyriazis

  23. 5 out of 5

    เนติวิทย์ โชติภัทร์ไพศาล

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jaylani Adam

  25. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Kuhn

  26. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  27. 5 out of 5

    Janet Simons

  28. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rambling Reader

  30. 5 out of 5

    Vipassana

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